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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Sunday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

Britain is taking another small step out of lockdown as a new virus surge inundates its European neighbours.

With U.K. coronavirus vaccination rates outstripping those of European Union nations, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is easing the stark “stay at home” message that has curtailed everyday life — and kept the virus in check — for almost three months.

From Monday, it will be replaced in England with a message to stay local. People will be allowed to meet in groups of six outdoors and can resume outdoor sports such as basketball, tennis and golf.

The other parts of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — are taking broadly similar steps. In Wales, thousands of people poured onto beaches and beauty spots on Saturday, after the authorities lifted travel restrictions that have been in place since December.

While many European nations are seeing a new surge in the pandemic, Britain is counting on a rapid mass-vaccination program to help it end lockdown. Nearly 30 million people, accounting for 56 per cent of all adults, have received a first dose of vaccine so far.

Oliver Dowden, Britain’s secretary of state for culture, said the government is confident it can deliver second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. (Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout via Reuters)

Britain is confident second doses of COVID-19 shots will be administered on time without mixing the type of vaccines, culture minister Oliver Dowden said on Sunday amid concerns over a slowdown in supplies.

The government warned earlier this month that its vaccination program would slow down in April due in part to a delay of a shipment from India’s Serum Institute.

The European Union has also threatened to block vaccine shipments to countries such as the U.K. with higher vaccination rates.

“We have borne in mind that we have to get that second top-up in so we are confident that we will be able to deliver it,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

“We are confident that it won’t require mixing of vaccines.”

The U.K. has recorded more than 126,000 COVID-19 deaths, the highest toll in Europe.


What’s happening across Canada

As of 6:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 961,088 cases of COVID-19, with 42,025 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 22,852.

Canada’s chief public health officer warned Saturday that current health orders are not enough to stop rapid growth of COVID-19 as provinces push ahead with plans to reopen their economies.

Longer-range forecast models predict a resurgence of COVID-19 infections unless public health measures are enhanced and strictly followed, Dr. Theresa Tam said in a written statement.

Tam said public health orders across Canada need to be stronger, stricter and sustained long enough to control the rise of variants of concern. High infection rates in the most populous provinces are driving up the country’s average daily case counts, she said.

Alberta reported 688 new COVID-19 cases and an additional death on Saturday.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said 207 of Saturday’s infections are variants of concern and that almost 25 per cent of Alberta’s active COVID-19 cases are variants.

In Saskatchewan, the opposition NDP and a body that represents teachers in the province are calling for faster implementation of rapid tests in schools. 

NDP education critic Carla Beck noted some tests were already “on the doorsteps” of some schools in Saskatchewan, but there was still confusion about things like permission forms and procedures for administering them.

WATCH | How businesses and schools use rapid COVID-19 tests:

Many businesses and schools across Canada are utilizing rapid COVID-19 tests and onsite testing technology to help catch asymptomatic cases and prevent spread of the virus. 7:41

Manitoba registered 57 more COVID-19 cases and one death on Saturday.

The province also says that it has now administered more than 163,000 vaccine doses and that more than 10 per cent of residents aged 18 or older have received a shot.

Ontario logged 2,453 new cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day total in more than two months. The province also reported 16 more deaths.

Saturday’s daily case count comes before the province moves Hamilton and Eastern Ontario Health Unit into more restricted areas of its colour-coded reopening framework on Monday. As well, five regions in the province’s grey lockdown zone will see some restrictions loosen on Monday and later in April. 

WATCH | Is Ontario ending its COVID-19 lockdowns too early?:

Some doctors say lockdown measures should be in place for another few weeks in Ontario, until daily cases drop below 150. They say such a move would have prevented the current surge — and perhaps future lockdowns. 3:09

Quebec confirmed 1,009 new cases and eight deaths. It’s the first time in a month and a half that the province’s saw more than 1,000 new infections in a single day.

New Brunswick reported 12 new cases on Saturday, all in the Edmundston region.

The province’s northwest remains under tightened restrictions following a spike in variant cases. The area was moved from yellow to red for a four-day “circuit breaker” on Thursday.

Prince Edward Island will open its first mass vaccination clinics on Monday. 

The clinics in Charlottetown and Summerside are for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, as opposed to the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is being distributed in pharmacies to younger Islanders who must work with the public.

Nova Scotia confirmed five new cases, all in the central health zone. The new cases are close contacts of previously reported cases, including one probable case reported on Friday at Sackville Heights Junior High in Lower Sackville.

In a news release, Premier Iain Rankin said a mobile testing unit will be set up in the Sackville region on Saturday and Sunday.

Newfoundland and Labrador saw no new infections. Effective midnight Saturday, the entire province will move to Alert Level 2, allowing households to keep a “steady 20” group of consistent contacts.

What’s happening around the world

As of Sunday morning, more than 126.8 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, which runs a coronavirus case-tracking tool. The global death toll stood at more than 2.7 million.

In the Americas, Mexico’s government is acknowledging that the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic now stands above 321,000. That is almost 60 per cent more than the government’s official test-confirmed number of 201,429. Mexico does little testing, and because hospitals were overwhelmed, many Mexicans died at home without getting a test. The only way to get a clear picture is to review “excess deaths” and review death certificates.

The government quietly published such a report, indicating there were 294,287 deaths linked to COVID-19 from the start of the pandemic through Feb. 14. Since Feb. 15 there have been an additional 26,772 test-confirmed deaths.

In Europe, Ukraine is grappling with a surge in COVID-19 infections. A record number of Ukrainians were taken to hospital with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Sunday. Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said on Facebook 5,052 people had been hospitalized in the past day. The minister has linked the worsening of the situation to the spread of the coronavirus variant first found in Britain, which was detected in Ukraine in late February, amid a slow pace of vaccination.

Pope Francis holds a mass on Palm Sunday in an almost empty St. Peter’s Basilica for the second consecutive year in light of COVID-19 restrictions. Pope Francis led Palm Sunday services in an almost empty St. Peter’s Basilica because of coronavirus restrictions for the second consecutive year and said the devil is taking advantage of the pandemic. Only about 120 members of the faithful participated in Sunday’s Mass, joining the pope and about 30 cardinals in a secondary wing of the huge basilica. (Giuseppe Lami/Pool via Reuters)

In France, a group of critical care doctors say surging coronavirus infections could soon overwhelm their ability to care for the sick in the hospitals of Paris, possibly forcing them to choose which patients to treat. The warning of “catastrophic medicine” was delivered Sunday in a newspaper opinion piece signed by 41 Paris-region doctors. Published by Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper, it comes as President Emmanuel Macron has been vigorously defending his decision not to completely lock down France again as he did last year. Since January, Macron’s government has instead imposed a nationwide overnight curfew and followed that with a grab-bag of other restrictions.

In Africa, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta restricted travel in the capital Nairobi and four other counties as infections hit record levels in East Africa’s richest economy.

In Asia, Pakistani Minister for Planning and Development Asada Umar said disregard for precautionary measures has led to a sudden rapid increase in the country, and he warned of strict actions if people don’t follow guidelines to counter the spread of the virus.

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Canadas Immigration Problems Solved by Invisible Border Walls

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Canadas’s immigration story is seen by the world as too liberal that gives them a good image through out but there seems to be some lesser-known information. It is not only liberal but conservative as well and they hide this fact all too well. This is only made possible by the invisible border walls that Canada has instore.

No this is not something out of sci-fi novel. This is actually true and will be discussed further down the article. But first we need to see what happen in the 1980s.

Since the 1980s, Canada has consistently been a high-immigration country, at least relative to the U.S. As a result, the proportion of Canadians born outside the country hit 21.9 percent in 2016. That same year, America’s foreign-born population was 13.4 percent. That’s a record high for the U.S.—but it’s been 115 years since Canada’s foreign-born population was at such a low level. As Derek Thompson put it in his article analyzing how Canada has escaped the “liberal doom loop,” Canada’s floor is America’s ceiling.

So, the question remain why has Canada managed to sustain popular acceptance and cross-party support for so much legal immigration?

Well firstly, this is because the intake of the Canadian population has been so law abiding and orderly so to be undisruptive and thus not being newsworthy. Canada unlike the neighbor USA is a country where mostly come in from the front door, in the open and during the daylight hours.

Everyone coming to Canada would have to apply from there home countries to come to Canada before they are granted access to the country, they have to go through a huge line of people already waiting after which they are subjected to extensive vetting by the Canadian authorities. Those who make the cut are then let in the country. In short it is not only you that chooses Canada but Canada would also have to choose you. For this to work.

For those who choose to trespass and try to enter Canada by illegal means well that where the invisible border walls come in. that right Canada has a border wall. In a sense of course. In fact, there are 5 of them. Four geographic and 1 bureaucratic. All of which have been effective at sustaining the legitimacy and popularity of Canada’s immigration policy.

Three of the walls are the dumb luck of geography: the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans. You can cross the Aegean from Asia to Europe in a dinghy, but unless you can get your hands on a ship and a crew trained in navigating thousands of miles of difficult water, you aren’t sailing to Canada. So far in 2018, Canada has received exactly 10 asylum applications at sea ports.

The fourth wall is Canada’s southern border with the U.S. The world’s leading economy has historically been a magnet for people, not the reverse. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the volume of emigrants from Canada to the U.S. was at times so high that Canadians actually feared for the future of their country. The strength of the American economy long meant that few immigrants would think to use the U.S. as a back door into Canada.

The fifth wall is the bureaucratic barrier that Canadian governments, both Conservative and Liberal, have meticulously maintained to cover any gaps in the other defenses.

This is the underlying reason for Canada having an amazing immigration system, that would present itself as liberal but is actually more a concern of some natural luck.

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How to Immigration System in Canada has Changed Since the Covid-19

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Before we jump into the current situation we need to look into what Canada and its immigration system has been for people all around the world. Canada has been a keeper of refugees; for people that are involved in international controversies, religious persecution etc from there country of origin.

We see this in the 1947-1953 Canada welcomed thousands of Hungarians and Vietnamese “boat people”. In the late 1970s and Syrians in the 2010s.

This still continues to date since the immigration and retention of people from Hong Kong.

But all of this would begin to change since the beginning of the covid 19. The real question is Canada has suffered far worst and still managed to land on its feet. Will this time be different? Only time will tell.

The History of Immigration in Canada:

Canada has a history of coping with situation that limited its ability to accept newcomers to its country. The First World War saw immigration to Canada drop precipitously; in 1915, the intake was only 34,000 people (compared to over 400,000 just two years before).

In the 1920s we began to see an increase in numbers but again dropped sharply with the advent of the Great Depression, dipping still further with World War II. So, the drop in immigration to Canada resulting from the Coronavirus is far from unheralded in Canada’s history.

Canada has also seen great waves of immigration, particularly as part of a response to, and recovery from, challenges. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants poured into the country, many to the west, in the decade or so following the establishment of Saskatchewan and Alberta as provinces. Unlike many countries in Europe, which arguably had too many people and not enough land, Canada had the opposite problem.

After the calamity of the Second World War, Canada, unlike many other nations, had emerged strong and stable. But it was sorely lacking in the labor force and skills necessary for the great post-War economy and recovery taking place. Between 1946 and 1953, over 750,000 souls found a home in Canada.

Plans on Immigration After the Pandemic:

The government has announced a goal of settling over 1,200,000 new permanent residents in Canada from now until 2021-2023. In considerable measure, economic and population needs are the motivation for this ambitious plan. Marco Mendocino, the incumbent Immigration Minister, expressed it well in announcing the targets in the following statement:

“Immigration is essential … to our short-term economic recovery and our long-term economic growth … newcomers create jobs not just by giving our businesses the skills they need to thrive, but also by starting businesses themselves.”

Conclusion:

The pandemic has hit the world hard and well Canada has been no stranger to the virus, we have people lost lives and people that have suffered a lot financially and economically. This would have to turn around in the near future but until that happens Canada would have play there cards right for this to work out in the favor of the country and it’s citizens.

I personally think that Canada can still make a difference in the international world. If it were to continue to follow the plan it has set for itself. I am sure that this is going to be difficult but considering previous Canadian track record this is going to be something that Canada would be coming out of with potentially amazing results.

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Japan’s Suga visits for Biden’s first White House summit; China tops agenda

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By Trevor Hunnicutt and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday became the first foreign leader to be hosted at the White House since President Joe Biden took office, underscoring Tokyo’s central role in U.S. efforts to counter China’s growing assertiveness.

The one-day summit offers the Democratic president a chance to work further on his pledge to revitalize U.S. alliances that frayed under his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

The meeting is expected to yield steps diversifying supply chains seen as over-reliant on China and a $2 billion commitment from Japan to work with the United States on alternatives to the 5G network of Chinese firm Huawei, a senior U.S. official said.

Biden and Suga also plan to discuss human rights issues related to China, including the situation in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, the official said.

The summit, Biden’s first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader, is expected to produce a formal statement on Taiwan, a Chinese-claimed, self-ruled island under increasing military pressure from Beijing, said the official, who did not want to be identified.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden, in his talks with Suga, would address China’s “increasingly coercive action” on Taiwan, which is China’s most sensitive territorial issue.

It would be the first joint statement on Taiwan by U.S. and Japanese leaders since 1969. However, it appears likely to fall short of what Washington has been hoping from Suga, who inherited a China policy that sought to balance security concerns with economic ties when he took over as premier last September.

In a statement after a March meeting of U.S.-Japan officials, the two sides “underscored the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” and shared “serious concerns” about human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

The U.S. official said that both countries, while not wanting to raise tensions or provoke China, were trying to send a clear signal that Beijing’s dispatch of warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense zone was incompatible with maintaining peace and stability.

A Japanese foreign ministry official said this week it had not been decided whether there would be a joint statement and two Japanese ruling party lawmakers familiar with the discussions said officials have been divided over whether Suga should endorse a strong statement on Taiwan.

The U.S. official said Washington would not “insist on Japan somehow signing on to every dimension of our approach” and added: “We also recognize the deep economic and commercial ties between Japan and China and Prime Minister Suga wants to walk a careful course, and we respect that.”

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Friday that China has expressed solemn concern about what he called “collusion” between Japan and the United States, and the countries should take China’s concerns seriously.

SUGA MEETS HARRIS

Suga met first with Vice President Kamala Harris and was then due to sit down with Biden in the Oval Office before holding a joint news conference. Earlier, Suga participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Japan highly praises and appreciates that the Biden-Harris administration puts high importance on cooperating with its allies and partners,” Suga told reporters as he began talks with Harris.

“There is no other time than today when the Japan-U.S. alliance needs to be strong,” he added, citing “a wide range of challenges.”

Harris said they would discuss “our mutual commitment in the Indo-Pacific.”

With his in-person summit with Suga, and another planned with South Korea in May, Biden – who took office on Jan. 20 – is working to focus on the Indo-Pacific region to deal with China’s rising power, which he sees as the critical foreign policy issue of the era.

He hopes to energize joint efforts with Australia, India and Japan, in a grouping known as the Quad, as well as with South Korea, to counter both China and longtime U.S. foe North Korea, and its increasingly threatening nuclear weapons program.

It requires a delicate balancing act given Japan and South Korea’s economic ties with China and currently frosty relations between Seoul and Tokyo.

Also expected to figure into the White House discussions are the summer Olympics due to be held in Tokyo. Psaki said the administration understands the careful considerations Japan is weighing as it decides whether to go ahead with the games. Japan is grappling with rising coronavirus infections with fewer than 100 days from the planned start.

The emphasis on Japan’s key status could boost Suga ahead of an election this year, but some politicians are pushing him for a tougher stance towards Beijing as it increases maritime activities in the East and South China Seas and near Taiwan.

The United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada have all imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for alleged abuses in Xinjiang and some Japanese lawmakers think Tokyo should adopt its own law allowing it to do the same, even as Japanese executives worry about a Chinese backlash.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Trevor Hunnicutt, additional reporting by Nandita Bose and Steve Holland; writing by David Brunnstrom and Matt Spetalnick;Editing by Kieran Murray, Lincoln Feast and Chizu Nomiyama)

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